Guitar Man

Guitar Man

by George BensonGeorge Benson


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Guitar Man, George Benson's second offering for Concord stands in contrast to 2009's Songs and Stories, though is not an about face. While the earlier album focused on Benson's proven, decades-long formula for pop and smooth jazz -- a group of of easy grooving tunes featuring his silky voice and shimmering guitar work -- this set focuses (primarily) on Benson as a contemporary jazz guitarist. While slickly produced by John Burk, this full-length is an ambitious but readily accessible collection with lithe, languid grooves and stellar playing. Primarily arranged by musical director/keyboardist David Garfield, Guitar Man contains eight instrumentals, which include beautiful solo readings of the standards "Tenderly," which opens the disc, and "Danny Boy." There is a lush, balladic, string-laden arrangement of the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" -- a consciously chosen reminder of Benson's work at A&M. Another highlight is his very contemporary but digified reading of John Coltrane's "Naima," which is simply gorgeous. It begins largely solo before the band enters halfway through, led by Harvey Mason's empathic drumming. The reading of "Tequila" here is warm, funky, and fun, with fine piano work by Joe Sample and percussion by Lenny Castro. Likewise, the reading of Arlen's and Harburg's "Paper Moon" displays beautiful interplay between Benson and Sample. Of the vocal tunes, the cover of Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amour" is the standout, but "My One and Only Love," with a long solo guitar intro, is very fine too. The set ends with two vocal tunes that contrast nicely. First is a very soulful treatment of the Buddy Johnson nugget "Since I Fell for You," with his voice and guitar accompanied only by Garfield's piano. Guitar Man finishes with Ronnie Foster's Latin-tinged groover "Fingerlero." Sample, Mason, and Castro star on the tune and Benson scats in trademark tandem with his guitar lines, sending it off in a contemporary jazz mode. As a guitarist, Benson is still at the top of his game; his musical eclecticism and his on-target accessibility are refined and equally reflected here.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/04/2011
Label: Concord Records
UPC: 0888072330993
catalogNumber: 33099
Rank: 104513

Album Credits

Performance Credits

George Benson   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Joe Sample   Piano
Charlie Bisharat   Violin,Viola
Lenny Castro   Percussion
Ray Fuller   Rhythm Guitar
David Garfield   Piano,Keyboards
Dan Higgins   Clarinet,Flute,Alto Flute
Paul Jackson   Rhythm Guitar
Harvey Mason   Drums
Chris Walden   Keyboards
Freddie Washington   Bass
Oscar Seaton   Drums
Ben Williams   Bass

Technical Credits

John Lennon   Composer
Paul McCartney   Composer
George Benson   Arranger
Ronnie Foster   Composer
Harold Arlen   Composer
Greg Allen   Art Direction
John Burk   Producer,Executive Producer
Oscar Castro-Neves   Orchestral Arrangements
John Coltrane   Composer
Henry Cosby   Composer
David Garfield   Arranger,Producer,rhythm arrangement
Geoff Gillette   Engineer
Walter Gross   Composer
E.Y. "Yip" Harburg   Composer
Jack Lawrence   Composer
Schmitt   Engineer
Rod Temperton   Composer
Stevie Wonder   Composer
Jesse Harris   Composer
Chris Walden   String Arrangements
Daniel Flores   Composer
Robert Mellin   Composer
Guy Wood   Composer
Sylvia May   Composer
Seth Presant   Engineer
Mauricio Cajueiro   Engineer
Billy Rose   Composer
Stephanie Gonzalez   Representation
Larissa Collins   Art Direction
Frederick Edward Weatherly   Composer
Woodrow "Buddy" Johnson   Composer
Bob Zievers   Booking
Noel Lee   Executive Producer
Yutaka Yokoura   Engineer
Aran Lavi   Engineer

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